Why I Run: Tom Osterbuhr, 57

Runner: Tom Osterbuhr, 57

Years Running: 45

From: Grand Island, Nebraska

1) What’s your favorite distance?

My favorite distance changes throughout the year. I love a good 5K in the summer, and I also love the marathon in the fall and spring. They are at the opposite end of the extremes of running, but they 5K test’s your desire to go all out and the marathon tests your courage to endure and go the distance.

2) Proudest racing moment?

The proudest racing moment is a tough one. I started running when I was 12 so I have run for 45 years and have had lots of ups and downs. Perhaps the proudest racing moment was the year I won the Twigh-Light 5, 5K run in Homewood, Alabama. I can’t remember the exact year, I believe it was August, 1998.

I finally beat the best Master Runner in Birmingham Robert Dancy and took 1st Place in the Masters Division that night. I was 42 years old. That summer was my best racing summer I had, I was able to run in the low 17’s all summer in the 5K and ran a 3:05 Marathon in Pensacola that year

3) Guilty pleasure food?

That is a loaded question similar to a loaded baked potato. I think to answer honestly it would include, pizza, cheeseburgers and ice cream, oh and did I mention beer. Now you see why I run!

4) The gear you cannot run without?

I am not much of a gear guy. That is what I love about running. Shoes, shorts are required and shirt is optional, although the shirt is not as optional the older I get. I wear one as to not gross out the general public.

5) Do you have all your toenails?

5. My toenails are intact. I have run an ultra (50K), 16 marathons, 8 half marathons and hundreds of 10K’s and 5K’s and have never lost a nail. I only had a black toe one time after Chicago in 10/10 and that was a bad shoe choice. In fact, now that you bring up toenails, I am looking at mine and think perhaps I should be a model for Toe Nail magazines!

6) Favorite workout?

My favorite workout is any interval workout. I hate it the day of; I am so grumpy and dread it all day. Then when I do them, I feel invincible. Two of my favorites, 16 x 400 with a 200 jog between. The first four are at 80%, the next four at 85%, the next four at 90% then the last four are 100%. Killer for sure, but when you can nail this workout, the 5K is a breeze!

The other one I love is a ladder interval. Two-mile warm up, then 1 minute at 5K pace, jog one minute, two minutes at a 5K pace, jog 2 minutes, 3 minutes @ 5K pace, jog three minutes-two-minutes @5K pace, jog two minutes, one minute 5K pace, jog 1 minute, then back up the ladder with a 2 mile cool down. I love that work out. It helps in so many ways, but really helps to train you to surge in a race, then fall back to pace.

7) If I were given free entry to a race, I’d race…

Good question. Rehoboth I guess. Not so much the destination, It is more about the people. There are a whole lot of Runner’s World Loopsters (Editor’s note: an online blogging community) I have not met that run that race each year and I really want to meet that group! The Dublin Marathon would be a close second. My mother is 100% Irish and I would love to explore my roots one day.

8) Embarrassing running moment?

I would have to say that I haven’t had too many embarrassing running moments in all the years I have been running. For the most embarrassing moment I may have to go all the way back to 1973, my sophomore year in High School.

The Conference meet was hosted by my High School. We ran under the lights. My PR for the mile that year was like 5:04. Ron Galvez was a 4:30ish runner and the favorite to win. I beat him, in the 1st lap that is. Then ended up finishing dead last in like 5:30. I had the home town fans in a frenzy and on their feet for the first 400 yards — yes I said yards, I am old. I was never a great miler but did come back in 1975 and run a 4:38 for a respectable PR.

9) Weird race ritual?

Other than laying my stuff out the night before I really don’t have a set ritual. As my wife says, I just kind of fly by the seat of my pants, whatever that means.

10) Favorite place to run?

My favorite place to run is wherever I am. I just love to run. I especially like to get to know new towns I have lived in or just visited. The best way to get to know an area is to run it.

11) One way running has made you a better person?

Running has made me a better person because it has kept me humble. When I get too cocky or arrogant, it brings me back down to where I belong. It allows me to self reflect and after a run I know who I have wronged and who I owe an apology. It helps keep me calm and slow to anger. I owe running so much, it has given me more than I can ever repay. Running has taught me that I am accountable for my actions. You can’t fake it or make excuses in running; your times do not lie. It has also taught me to control what I control.

12) Best medal or award you’ve received?

My 4 Boston medals give me my most proud moments. But I believe the Surf City Finishers medal is my coolest one.

13) Impress me with your biggest running achievement?

I have had some good runs in my life, nothing that would impress you, I am an average runner. I had a 16:06 5K PR, a 33:52 10K PR, a 1:24 half and 3:05:10 marathon. But my proudest accomplishment was to have run for St, Jude Heroes in Chicago and New York and having raised over $7,000 total dollars for that great cause is my proudest!

13.1) When I’m not running, I’m….

Chasing our adopted special needs son around or just hanging with Little B. The past two years I have also been coaching cross country and track, which has been a great experience! I also try and volunteer whenever possible and have served as the public address announcer at numerous high school football, volleyball, basketball games and wrestling and track meets over the past 13 years in Grand Island.

I also try and help with at least one road race a year, if you have worked a race it makes you less likely to complain at a race.

1 comment… add one
  • Tosterbuhr July 29, 2014, 8:48 am

    Thank you Carissa, you are a true pro!

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